I bet you’re just dying to know what I read in June 2022. (I’m kidding, of course). But don’t worry, I’m spilling all the tea in this post – from the books I adored to the ones that really fell flat.
It’s important to me to constantly be diversifying my shelves, learning more about the people around me, and continuing to create a safe environment for everyone in my little corner of the web. Celebrating diversity shouldn’t only happen during a month revolving around a minority group. For June, it was fun to pack my TBR with as many queer books as I could in celebration of Pride Month, though you’ll see my wrap-ups featuring LGBTQIA+ books all year long!
I had my husband choose several titles from my extensive “to-read” list on The StoryGraph and I dove into those books, along with a few ARCs, some sequels, and a few unplanned novels too! My favorite books of the month were primarily cartoon cover romances (this seems to be the genre I’m gravitating towards the most right now) and I also wound up reading a few books entirely out of my comfort zone. Continue reading to see what I thought of the eighteen books I read in June.
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The 19 Books I Read in June 2022
If you’re interested in more bookish content, follow my StoryGraph account for live reviews, and take a look at my bookstagram – where I share aesthetic coffee and book photos! Starred titles are ARCs.
Books That Got a 5-Star Rating
Adult Assembly Required
by Abbi Waxman
A young woman arrives in Los Angeles determined to start over and discovers she doesn’t need to leave everything behind after all, from Abbi Waxman, USA Today bestselling author of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
When Laura Costello moves to Los Angeles, trying to escape an overprotective family and the haunting memories of a terrible accident, she doesn’t expect to be homeless after a week. (She’s pretty sure she didn’t start that fire — right?) She also doesn’t expect to find herself adopted by a rogue bookseller, installed in a lovely but completely illegal boardinghouse, or challenged to save a losing trivia team from ignominy…but that’s what happens. Add a regretful landlady, a gorgeous housemate and an ex-boyfriend determined to put himself back in the running and you’ll see why Laura isn’t really sure she’s cut out for this adulting thing. Luckily for her, her new friends Nina, Polly and Impossibly Handsome Bob aren’t sure either, but maybe if they put their heads (and hearts) together they’ll be able to make it work.
by Emily Henry
A by the book literary agent must decide if happily ever after is worth changing her whole life for in this insightful, delightful new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read and People We Meet on Vacation.
Nora Stephens’ life is books—she’s read them all—and she is not that type of heroine. Not the plucky one, not the laidback dream girl, and especially not the sweetheart. In fact, the only people Nora is a heroine for are her clients, for whom she lands enormous deals as a cutthroat literary agent, and her beloved little sister Libby.
Which is why she agrees to go to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina for the month of August when Libby begs her for a sisters’ trip away—with visions of a small town transformation for Nora, who she’s convinced needs to become the heroine in her own story. But instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute.
If Nora knows she’s not an ideal heroine, Charlie knows he’s nobody’s hero, but as they are thrown together again and again—in a series of coincidences no editor worth their salt would allow—what they discover might just unravel the carefully crafted stories they’ve written about themselves.
The Charm Offensive
by Alison Cochrun
In this witty and heartwarming romantic comedy—reminiscent of Red, White & Royal Blue and One to Watch—an awkward tech wunderkind on a reality dating show goes off-script when sparks fly with his producer.
Dev Deshpande has always believed in fairy tales. So it’s no wonder then that he’s spent his career crafting them on the long-running reality dating show Ever After. As the most successful producer in the franchise’s history, Dev always scripts the perfect love story for his contestants, even as his own love life crashes and burns. But then the show casts disgraced tech wunderkind Charlie Winshaw as its star. Charlie is far from the romantic Prince Charming Ever After expects. He doesn’t believe in true love, and only agreed to the show as a last-ditch effort to rehabilitate his image. In front of the cameras, he’s a stiff, anxious mess with no idea how to date twenty women on national television. Behind the scenes, he’s cold, awkward, and emotionally closed-off. As Dev fights to get Charlie to open up to the contestants on a whirlwind, worldwide tour, they begin to open up to each other, and Charlie realizes he has better chemistry with Dev than with any of his female co-stars. But even reality TV has a script, and in order to find to happily ever after, they’ll have to reconsider whose love story gets told.
Malice (Malice Duology #1)
by Heather Walter
A princess isn’t supposed to fall for an evil sorceress. But in this “bewitching and fascinating” (Tamora Pierce) retelling of “Sleeping Beauty,” true love is more than a simple fairy tale.
Once upon a time, there was a wicked fairy who, in an act of vengeance, cursed a line of princesses to die. A curse that could only be broken by true love’s kiss.
You’ve heard this before, haven’t you? The handsome prince. The happily ever after.
Let me tell you, no one in Briar actually cares about what happens to its princesses. Not the way they care about their jewels and elaborate parties and charm-granting elixirs. I thought I didn’t care, either.
Until I met her.
Princess Aurora. The last heir to Briar’s throne. Kind. Gracious. The future queen her realm needs. One who isn’t bothered that I am Alyce, the Dark Grace, abhorred and feared for the mysterious dark magic that runs in my veins. Humiliated and shamed by the same nobles who pay me to bottle hexes and then brand me a monster. Aurora says I should be proud of my gifts. That she . . . cares for me. Even though a power like mine was responsible for her curse.
But with less than a year until that curse will kill her, any future I might see with Aurora is swiftly disintegrating—and she can’t stand to kiss yet another insipid prince. I want to help her. If my power began her curse, perhaps it’s what can lift it. Perhaps together we could forge a new world.
Nonsense again. Because we all know how this story ends, don’t we? Aurora is the beautiful princess. And I—
I am the villain.
Books That Got a 4 or 4.5-Star Rating
Wild is the Witch*
by Rachel Griffin
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Nature of Witches comes an enemies-to-lovers contemporary fantasy standalone.
After a night of magic turns deadly, Iris Gray vows to never let another person learn she’s a witch. It doesn’t matter that the Witches’ Council found her innocent or that her magic was once viewed as a marvel—that night on the lake changed everything. Now settled in Washington, Iris hides who she really is and vents her frustrations by writing curses she never intends to cast. And while she loves working at the wildlife refuge she runs with her mother, she loathes Pike Alder, the witch-hating aspiring ornithologist who interns with them.
When Pike makes a particularly hurtful comment, Iris concocts a cruel torment for him. But just as she’s about to dispel it, an owl swoops down and steals the curse before flying far away from the refuge. The owl is a powerful amplifier, and if it dies, Iris’s dark spell will be unleashed not only on Pike, but on everyone in the region.
Forced to work together, Iris and Pike trek through the wilderness in search of the bird that could cost Pike his life. But Pike doesn’t know the truth, and as more dangers arise in the woods, Iris must decide how far she’s willing to go to keep her secrets safe.
The Never Tilting World (The Never Tilting World #1)
by Rin Chupeco
A world split between day and night. Two sisters who must unite it. The author of The Bone Witch kicks off an epic YA fantasy duology perfect for fans of Furyborn.
Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon–until one sister’s betrayal split their world in two. A Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in eternal night, the other scorched beneath an ever-burning sun.
While one sister rules the frozen fortress of Aranth, her twin rules the sand-locked Golden City–each with a daughter by their side. Now those young goddesses must set out on separate, equally dangerous journeys in hopes of healing their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands.
Told from four interweaving perspectives, this sweeping duology packs elemental magic, star-crossed romance, and incredible landscapes into a spectacular fantasy adventure that’s equal parts Frozen and Mad Max: Fury Road.
A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Monk & Robot #1)
by Becky Chambers
In A Psalm for the Wild-Built, Hugo Award-winner Becky Chambers’s delightful new Monk and Robot series gives us hope for the future.
It’s been centuries since the robots of Panga gained self-awareness and laid down their tools; centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again; centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend.
One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of “what do people need?” is answered.
But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how.
They’re going to need to ask it a lot.
Becky Chambers’s new series asks: in a world where people have what they want, does having more matter?
Portrait of a Thief
by Grace D. Li
A cinematic, entertaining and fast-paced debut novel that is part-Ocean’s Eleven, part-The Social Network and part-Crazy Rich Asians, Portrait of a Thief is an addictive mix of heist and unlikely friendships by way of the politics of colonization.
This was how things began: Boston on the cusp of fall, the Sackler Museum robbed of 23 pieces of priceless Chinese art. Even in this back room, dust catching the slant of golden, late-afternoon light, Will could hear the sirens. They sounded like a promise.
Will Chen, a Chinese American art history student at Harvard, has spent most of his life learning about the West – its art, its culture, all that it has taken and called its own. He believes art belongs with its creators, so when a Chinese corporation offers him a (highly illegal) chance to reclaim five priceless sculptures, it’s surprisingly easy to say yes.
Will’s crew, fellow students chosen out of his boundless optimism for their skills and loyalty, aren’t exactly experienced criminals. Irene is a public policy major at Duke who can talk her way out of anything; Daneil is pre-med with steady hands and dreams of being a surgeon. Lily is an engineering student who races cars in her spare time; and Will is relying on Alex, an MIT dropout turned software engineer, to hack her way in and out of each museum they must rob.
Each student has their own complicated relationship with China and the identities they’ve cultivated as Chinese Americans, but one thing soon becomes certain: they won’t say no.
Because if they succeed? They earn an unfathomable ten million each, and a chance to make history. If they fail, they lose everything . . . and the West wins again.
Black Sun (Between Earth and Sky #1)
by Rebecca Roanhorse
From the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Resistance Reborn comes the first book in the Between Earth and Sky trilogy, inspired by the civilizations of the Pre-Columbian Americas and woven into a tale of celestial prophecies, political intrigue, and forbidden magic.
A god will return
When the earth and sky converge
Under the black sun
In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world.
Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.
Crafted with unforgettable characters, Rebecca Roanhorse has created an epic adventure exploring the decadence of power amidst the weight of history and the struggle of individuals swimming against the confines of society and their broken pasts in the most original series debut of the decade.
The Bone Houses
by Emily Lloyd-Jones
Seventeen-year-old Aderyn (“Ryn”) only cares about two things: her family, and her family’s graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote Welsh village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to fae creatures known as the Otherfolk. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don’t always stay dead.
The risen corpses are known as “bone houses,” and legend says that they’re the result of a decades-old curse. Ryn has always been quick to deal with this inconvenience whenever they wander too close to her graveyard, but when Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with renewed purpose. What is it about Ellis that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they stop them for good?
Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a quest that will bring them deep into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and long-hidden truths about themselves. Equal parts classic horror novel and original fairy-tale, The Bone Houses will have you spellbound from the very first page.
Books That Got a 3 or 3.5-Star Rating
Written in the Stars (Written in the Stars #1)
by Alexandria Bellefleur
With nods to Bridget Jones and Pride and Prejudice, a charming #ownvoices queer rom-com debut about a free-spirited social media astrologer who agrees to fake a relationship with an uptight actuary until New Year’s Eve—with results not even the stars could predict!
After a disastrous blind date, Darcy Lowell is desperate to stop her well-meaning brother from playing matchmaker ever again. Love—and the inevitable heartbreak—is the last thing she wants. So she fibs and says her latest set up was a success. Darcy doesn’t expect her lie to bite her in the ass.
Elle Jones, one of the astrologers behind the popular Twitter account, Oh My Stars, dreams of finding her soul mate. But she knows it is most assuredly not Darcy… a no-nonsense stick-in-the-mud, who is way too analytical, punctual, and skeptical for someone as free-spirited as Elle. When Darcy’s brother—and Elle’s new business partner—expresses how happy he is that they hit it off, Elle is baffled. Was Darcy on the same date? Because… awkward.
When Darcy begs Elle to play along, she agrees to pretend they’re dating to save face. But with a few conditions: Darcy must help Elle navigate her own overbearing family over the holidays and their arrangement expires on New Year’s Eve. The last thing they expect is to develop real feelings during a fake relationship.
But maybe opposites can attract when true love is written in the stars?
The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #2)
by Rick Riordan
Percy Jackson and his friends undertake a perilous voyage to save their summer camp in this modern-day adventure with a Greek mythology twist.
After a summer spent trying to prevent a catastrophic war among the Greek gods, Percy Jackson finds his seventh-grade school year unnervingly quiet. His biggest problem is dealing with his new friend, Tyson-a six-foot-three, mentally challenged homeless kid who follows Percy everywhere, making it hard for Percy to have any “normal” friends.
But things don’t stay quiet for long. Percy soon discovers there is trouble at Camp Half-Blood: the magical borders that protect Half-Blood Hill have been poisoned by a mysterious enemy, and the only safe haven for demigods is on the verge of being overrun by mythological monsters.
To save the camp, Percy needs the help of his best friend, Grover, who has been taken prisoner by the Cyclops Polyphemus on an island somewhere in the Sea of Monsters, the dangerous waters Greek heroes have sailed for millennia-only today, the Sea of Monsters goes by a new name: the Bermuda Triangle. Now Percy and his friends-Grover, Annabeth, and Tyson-must retrieve the Golden Fleece from the Island of the Cyclopes by the end of the summer or Camp Half-Blood will be destroyed. But first, Percy will learn a stunning new secret about his family-one that makes him question whether being claimed as Poseidon’s son is an honor or simply a cruel joke.
Blood Like Magic (Blood Like Magic #1)
by Liselle Sambury
A rich, dark urban fantasy debut following a teen witch who is given a horrifying task: sacrificing her first love to save her family’s magic. The problem is, she’s never been in love—she’ll have to find the perfect guy before she can kill him.
After years of waiting for her Calling—a trial every witch must pass in order to come into their powers—the one thing Voya Thomas didn’t expect was to fail. When Voya’s ancestor gives her an unprecedented second chance to complete her Calling, she agrees—and then is horrified when her task is to kill her first love. And this time, failure means every Thomas witch will be stripped of their magic.
Voya is determined to save her family’s magic no matter the cost. The problem is, Voya has never been in love, so for her to succeed, she’ll first have to find the perfect guy—and fast. Fortunately, a genetic matchmaking program has just hit the market. Her plan is to join the program, fall in love, and complete her task before the deadline. What she doesn’t count on is being paired with the infuriating Luc—how can she fall in love with a guy who seemingly wants nothing to do with her?
With mounting pressure from her family, Voya is caught between her morality and her duty to her bloodline. If she wants to save their heritage and Luc, she’ll have to find something her ancestor wants more than blood. And in witchcraft, blood is everything.
Hang the Moon (Written in the Stars #2)
by Alexandria Bellefleur
In a delightful follow-up to Written in the Stars, Alexandria Bellefleur delivers another #ownvoices queer rom-com about a hopeless romantic who vows to show his childhood crush that romance isn’t dead by recreating iconic dates from his favorite films…
Brendon Lowell loves love. It’s why he created a dating app to help people find their one true pairing and why he’s convinced “the one” is out there, even if he hasn’t met her yet. Or… has he? When his sister’s best friend turns up in Seattle unexpectedly, Brendon jumps at the chance to hang out with her. He’s crushed on Annie since they were kids, and the stars have finally aligned, putting them in the same city at the same time.
Annie booked a spur-of-the-moment trip to Seattle to spend time with friends before moving across the globe. She’s not looking for love, especially with her best friend’s brother. Annie remembers Brendon as a sweet, dorky kid. Except, the 6-foot-4 man who shows up at her door is a certified Hot Nerd and Annie… wants him? Oh yes.
Getting involved would be a terrible idea–her stay is temporary and he wants forever–but when Brendon learns Annie has given up on dating, he’s determined to prove that romance is real. Taking cues from his favorite rom-coms, Brendon plans to woo her with elaborate dates straight out of Nora Ephron’s playbook. The clock is ticking on Annie’s time in Seattle, and Brendon’s starting to realize romance isn’t just flowers and chocolate. But maybe real love doesn’t need to be as perfect as the movies… as long as you think your partner hung the moon.
The True Love Bookshop (Somerset Lake #3)*
by Annie Rains
With the support of her friends, Tess joins River on a journey of discovery that leads them to the edges of Somerset Lake and on a road trip down the Carolina coast. Although their adventure isn’t always easy, Tess starts to find the joy in life again. But when secrets surrounding her husband’s death are finally revealed, can Tess find it in her heart to forgive the mistakes of the past … and maybe even open herself up to love again? For Tess Lane, owning Lakeside Books is a dream come true, but it’s the weekly book club she hosts for the women in town that Tess enjoys the most. The gatherings have been her lifeline over the past three years since her husband’s mysterious death. Tess has tried to move on, but when River Harrison shows up on her doorstep, all her lingering questions come rushing back.… River, a former marine turned private investigator, was her husband’s best friend, and seeing him again is a reminder of everything Tess lost. At first, she tries to ignore him, but Tess comes to realize that this is her chance, once and for all, to find the answers that have troubled her for years. She’s ready to start a new chapter in her life…
I Wanna Be Where You Are
by Kristina Forest
When Chloe Pierce’s mom forbids her to apply for a spot at the dance conservatory of her dreams, she devises a secret plan to drive two hundred miles to the nearest audition. But Chloe hits her first speed bump when her annoying neighbor Eli insists upon hitching a ride, threatening to tell Chloe’s mom if she leaves him and his smelly dog, Geezer, behind. So now Chloe’s chasing her ballet dreams down the east coast–two unwanted (but kinda cute) passengers in her car, butterflies in her stomach, and a really dope playlist on repeat.
Filled with roadside hijinks, heart-stirring romance, and a few broken rules, Kristina Forest’s I Wanna Be Where You Are is a YA debut perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sandhya Menon.
Books That Got a 2 or 2.5 -Star Rating
Allegiant (Divergent #3)
by Veronica Roth
The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth’s #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent series of books reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that captivated millions of readers and film fans in Divergent and Insurgent.
One choice will define you. What if your whole world was a lie? What if a single revelation–like a single choice–changed everything? What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?
Told from a riveting dual perspective, this third installment in the series follows Tris and Tobias as they battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature–and their selves–while facing impossible choices of courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.
Redemptor (Raybearer #2)
by Jordan Ifueko
The hotly anticipated sequel to the instant New York Times bestselling YA fantasy about Tarisai’s quest to change her fate
For the first time, an Empress Redemptor sits on Aritsar’s throne. To appease the sinister spirits of the dead, Tarisai must now anoint a council of her own, coming into her full power as a Raybearer. She must then descend into the Underworld, a sacrifice to end all future atrocities.
Tarisai is determined to survive. Or at least, that’s what she tells her increasingly distant circle of friends. Months into her shaky reign as empress, child spirits haunt her, demanding that she pay for past sins of the empire.
With the lives of her loved ones on the line, assassination attempts from unknown quarters, and a handsome new stranger she can’t quite trust . . . Tarisai fears the pressure may consume her. But in this finale to the Raybearer duology, Tarisai must learn whether to die for justice . . . or to live for it.
It’s Not Summer Without You (Summer #2)
by Jenny Han
Belly finds out what comes after falling in love in this follow-up to The Summer I Turned Pretty from the New York Times bestselling author of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (soon to be a major motion picture!), Jenny Han.
Can summer be truly summer without Cousins Beach?
It used to be that Belly counted the days until summer, until she was back at Cousins Beach with Conrad and Jeremiah. But not this year. Not after Susannah got sick again and Conrad stopped caring. Everything that was right and good has fallen apart, leaving Belly wishing summer would never come.
But when Jeremiah calls saying Conrad has disappeared, Belly knows what she must do to make things right again. And it can only happen back at the beach house, the three of them together, the way things used to be. If this summer really and truly is the last summer, it should end the way it started—at Cousins Beach.
Jaya Avendel says
Love that you have grouped this books based off star ratings! I enjoy reading poorly-rated book reviews as much as I enjoy reading five-star book reviews, as I think it is important to learn about the elements readers appreciate.
Portrait of a Thief and The Charm Offensive both catch my eye!! 🙂
Adult Assembly Required was one of my favorites too!
Sumedha @ the wordy habitat says
Yay for reading The Charm Offensive! I didn’t manage to read much in June due to a busy month but I did read a few great books. Hopefully July is a better month. Adult Assembly Required is a book that I increasingly want to read, especially seeing others reading it.
Hope you have a good July!
Merry Sari says
Wow! It’s been a while since the last time I visited your blog. It this such a great surprise for me to find out you have read 19 books in June! Unbelievable! I have Adult Assembly Required and The True Love Bookshop (Somerset Lake #3) on my TBR this month. Hope you have a wonderful read in July, Steph 😀
I'm All Booked Up says
It looks like you had a great reading month. We want to read Book Lovers and reread The Summer I Turned Pretty.
So many of these sound amazing! I love that you include so many different types of books of varying genres and storylines. I also love how inclusive you are with your reading material and how you used Pride Month to celebrate that. Thank you for sharing all of these gems!! <3
SO many great books! I’ve been on the waitlist for Book Lovers forever, can’t wait to read it, especially now that I know you gave it 5 stars!